Can 1875 join in on this thread too
? Behold, the necessary forerunner for good Dr. Walstad and a beautifully proseful explanation for perhaps becoming antiquarian. This is a free Google ebook so please consume the entire thing but do please love and cherish Chapter 3, page 22, I beg you
. God I love the prose of that era! Quoted text bolded for ease of reading. http://books.google.com.nf/ebooks/re...er&pg=GBS.PA22
From James Shirley Hibberd's The Aquarium
: “The mere assignment of a few fishes, sea anemones, plants, or other gatherings of aquatic life to a vessel of water, does not constitute an Aquarium. The term implies a self-sustaining collection, so adapted that the balance of forces which is maintained in the scheme of nature shall have its counterpart on a smaller scale. There can be no success, no pleasure, and but little instruction in the keeping together of heterogeneous assemblage by merely artificial means.”
These words are starting to sound familiar I hope. Start thinking about how we as planted aquarium keepers use the term balance and what we mean. Continuing on with the excerpt an interesting, almost crude and very wrong sentiment appears. Something that flies in the face of modern aquarium management today. “But it is an essential principle of the Aquarium, scientifically considered, that the water shall never be changed, and that no artificial means whatever shall be used to keep up the supply of life giving oxygen for the support of its animated inmates.”
What is the meaning of this? Some bizarre Victorian pronouncement born arbitrarily? No, it is a rhetorical device I assure you. I'll let Mr. Hibberd disabuse you. “By 'never changed' I mean the the balance shall be so perfectly established between the reciprocating actions of animal and vegetable life, that the changing of the water becomes a matter of convenience, and not of necessity; it may be changed perhaps once a year, for the purpose of re-arranging the furniture, or laying down a bed of fresh pebbles, but not at all for the purpose of promoting the health of the creatures.”
Given the last few sentiments, you must be aware that at the time the Victorians didn't know about osmotic balance of the cells of aquatic organisms, the importance of calcium, potassium and sodium. No, this was the presentation of an ideal if a balance was properly struck. We know now for certain that water must be changed for precisely these reasons and to dilute the organic wastes.
One could argue that Dr. Walstad supported this notion with her natural planted aquariums and in her book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium
but when we dig a bit deeper, that's not the case at all and maybe Mr. Hibberd can be forgiven of this notion.